Edit: I'm back! Updating the guide slowly, please read the first few introduction paragraphs as they explain a lot, and are more important than the actual step by step guide.
Since Steam released F2P games, lots of new players have entered the game, and CE prices have dropped dramatically. Now, since we have an Auction house as well, it is increasingly harder to be self-sustaining within a week. I have added some new notes at the end of this guide to compensate for this being somewhat out of date. Please check the MORE EXTRAS section for this new information.
So far I've been seeing players having trouble with energy management and acquiring t3 armor to explore the depths of the clockworks without the use of CE. Now, while I do condone the use of CE and buying CE highly (I have purchased a quantity myself), some players do not have that opportunity. I wanted to try and write a simple guide for casual players who want to start slow but build up to a mass of wealth later in a week or so, and will hopefully solve anyone quarreling over how CE is too expensive or how you need CE to play this game.
Foremost, I consider Spiral Knights a "casual" type game, since you can play for an hour or two and then be done for the day if you wish, while still keeping up with the majority of people you start out with under the same conditions. If you want to buy CE and use it with this starting guide, you will have a much easier time and be able to progress faster, but like I said before, I wanted to write this to make sure people who don't have that option still have a fair and fun game experience.
So, you saw this game from wherever, made your account (or just used an old one) and want to hop in and play! Spiral Knights is good about getting you into that action quickly. Technically, you're going to start out with 90 Mist energy, even though your tank holds 100, since the starting level (Crash Site) costs 10 to enter. Now let's quickly go through this starting level!
Crash Site/Tutorial- Energy Cost: 5
Crown total: 0 (Q___Q)
Mist Energy Total: 95
CE total: 0 (For this guide we will not start with any CE)
Right Click/Z = Attack
Left Click/W&A&S&D/Arrow Keys/Numb Pad 8&4&6&2 keys = Movement
X = Shield
So the basic story is: Onoes u r crashd hir, plz join other knights! The purpose of this level is to teach you how to swing or shoot at things, as well as orient you with the Crowns/HP(Heart) drops. What you should be doing in this level (since it is a forced use of 5 Mist energy), is to BREAK EVERYTHING.
**Break everything will now be referred to as RULE 1**
Rule 1 Explanation: This includes: Shrubs, Grass and Monsters. The only exception to this rule is Bricks/Blocks, which have a 100% chance of dropping NOTHING. The reason is that shrubs and grass can drop crowns; however you might be thinking picking up one crown from a bush is useless, it does add up quite significantly later on. Think of you (the guy breaking everything) versus the guy who doesn't break a single object unless forced: by the time you reach tier 2, you have probably saved up an extra 1k crowns by now and died less (from hearts popping out of grass), and can therefore enter the tier 2 areas faster!
By the time you have left the Crash site, you should have around 100 crowns, give or take on your luck.
Crown total: 100+/-
Mist Energy Total: 95
CE Total: 0
Don't buy anything here, This guide assumes you know how to press Z and occasionally X (if you can't press Z fast enough). Skip over the Abandoned Depot (Looks like an Emerald Pawn Gate), and head straight to~
The Final Test- Energy cost: 10
Crown Total: 100+/-
Mist Energy Total: 85
CE Total: 0
Grab a Handy-Dandy Health Capsule and Head down. Now, This and your Crash Site level are pretty straightforward, you cannot get lost and you must explore 100% of the level to continue on. There are only bricks on this level, so no need to break 100% of them, however still you need to keep Rule 1 in your mind. You will have a Party Switch fight at the end of the level to face off versus some skeletons, though they will be pushed over within 5-6 hits. Congratulations! You've made it to Haven!
Haven, Day 1-
Crown Total: 250+/-
Mist Energy Total: 85
CE Total: 0
Check your mail, you should have a FABULOUS Mist tank available to you, which we will now SAVE untill we hit 0 energy (or less than 10 if we need to continue on).
Now, I know you might want to check out the market, but please, force yourself into the Arcade! Pick any active elevator and hop on quickly, before you have the urge to spend your precious crowns. SAVE THEM, you will need them later to make your gear to get into tier 2, while your starting gear is more than perfectly fine for anything tier 1 throws at you.
Now, before you grab your HP Capsule and dive on in, I have a few more rules to explain to you:
Rule 2: Explore EVERYTHING.
A quick tip on knowing if you explored everything is to Rule 1 everything untill you hit a dead end, or a party switch. If it's a dead end, turn around and search for a new path to take; however if it is a party switch and you HAVE NOT explored every path to take in the level presented to you so far, make a U-turn and go explore the rest, because as soon as you hit the party switch, the past part of the area will be sealed off for you, and you never know if you missed a few prize boxes if you didn't explore that last branch of that path!
Rule 3: In-Floor Arena under the right conditions.
This means if you have more than one person in your party, or if it's in the lower depth areas of your tier. They are a great source of heat and crowns if you don't die. However, they are very difficult, especially on your first run down through the clockworks.
Rule 4: Always wait on Arena levels.
Clockwork levels that are specifically arenas are a major source of your starting crowns and heat; Do not pass them up; Check your gate map and plan a route to get as many arenas as possible if you can, as well as doing all 3 stages they offer.
Rule 5: Reviving more than once is very costly on any tier.
It might not seem like it is a lot of energy to revive, but if you do it enough times you are missing out on extra depths of the clockworks you could have explored.
Rule 6, and the most important rule: Be Patient.
You will make more money passing up on selling an item for lower than what it should cost, and by waiting on certain levels on the clockworks that will drop the materials you or someone else needs. There is no time limit on levels of the clockworks either, so feel free to take your time and explore them 100% as well as waiting on a new gate.
Also: Most people don't know when they start out that gates will rotate after a certain amount of time; the time being around 1-3 minutes for lower tier gates, and around 15+ minutes for tier 3 areas. Don't be afraid to wait it out! There is no time limit on levels in the clockworks!
After exploring your first dive through the Clockworks to Moorcroft Manner, you should have around 1.5k crowns to 2k crowns; which is a nice start. However, you should be almost (if not completely) out of energy, excluding using that mist take you have just gotten.
Haven, Day 1 Take 2:
Crown Total: 1.5k-2k+/-
Mist Energy: 0+/-, with 1 Mist Tank in inventory.
CE Total: 0
The first thing I will reccommend you to buy ASAP is a Calibur Recipe from Kozma. Swords are your bread and butter weapon, and this one will let you get into tier 2. Now, unless you were lucky enough to grab 2 swordstones on your first trip down, you will have to sell some of your supplies that you recieved to make it. Some easily sold items are Shards, which will sell for around 75-300 crowns each, depending on the type and who is buying. You should be able to get all of your materials if you're cheap and picky about the vendors, since some will sell swordstones at 700c while others will sell them at 2k each. When you have everything and the crowns to make it, use that mist tank to go from 0 to 100 energy and make the Calibur! Congratulations, you are now five MILLION times stronger, Tier 1 arenas will now cry out your name in pain and crowns will be yours for the taking.
Go ahead and explore the clockworks with your leftover Mist energy, and if you have enough crowns to buy a Defender or Cobalt Helm/Armor recipe, buy them. Then, as painful as this will be, log out for the day. Spiral Knights will be here when you come back tomorrow =)
Haven, Days 2-4+:
Your goals now will be to collect the materials to make and have:
And the Cobalt Helm & Armor.
Yes, this will probably mean selling off any non-important materials and not playing 24 hours a day, but this is a guide on how to start out. If you're lucky, you might be done in the second or third day, or if you're unlucky then maybe on day 5 you will have your full 2* armor, in any case, make them and start saving up crowns from any materials you do not need.
Here is where it gets interesting: Now that you have your 2* armor, shield, helm and weapon, you now have access to Tier 2 areas next time you venture to the Manor. In these areas, expensive items like Swordstone, Iron gear, Force dynamos and more will drop quite more frequently than they did before. Grab them all and then sell them to that guy who needs 5 more swordstones to make his Leviathan Blade for 10k. While the money is rolling in, now is the time to start thinking about buying CE from the market for crowns.
Buying CE from the market:
There are better times during the day and week when energy will be cheaper or more expensive; usually between 2 EST/ 12 PST and 8 EST/5 PST prices for energy will fluctuate more, so now might be a good time to snatch up energy for 300 crowns less than what you saw 5 minutes ago, or you might get overcharged 500 crowns since someone just bought up most of the CE.
The goal now is to accumulate around 2k CE without spending any of it. At current market price, this will cost you around 66k crowns, which you should have gotten around the end of week 1 or mid-week on week 2 depending on your luck with items.
With 2k CE, you should be able to explore the depths of the clockworks to your hearts content, as long as you are not reviving for 300 each time. As well as having tier 2 armor and weapons now, you will be getting around 3k-6k crowns each trip from Moorcroft Manor to Emberlight, depending on arenas and such. Right now with energy prices, that's spending 80 energy to get 100-200 or more! As long as you are selling un-needed materials and then buying energy to replace what you have used, then you should be set at this point in time. Now I would suggest start finding what weapons you like to use, the armor set(s) you want to make, or just enjoying the game however you wish!
Common Mistakes new players make:
Selling Items too cheaply!
Reviving five times each level of the clockworks!
Not exploring 100% of the level!
Buying ANY items before basic 2* gear! Getting to tier 2 is more important to anything when talking about becoming self-sustaining with energy!
Shoebox Note: Use Vartel and Traveling Merchants to get 2* gear that you like easily. Also, don't fall for scammers who demand payment for crafting items for you, because they could just keep the items if you don't pay them enough.
Since the new steam users have joined, CE prices have gone down from 7k crowns back to around 4k while I'm writing this. With the new AH, material prices have dropped significantly and selling them might not be the most profitable way of getting self-sustaining now. However, it is still possible to become sustaining even now, though the process is longer now and days. You will now want to try and find friends who are already in Tier 2 or Tier 3, and use your mist energy following them around and being a "support" player. This means reviving your friend in Tier 3 or Tier 5 gear while hitting switches and staying out of the way. if you go from the Manor to Emberlight by fighting through Royal Jelly, you will net around 7-9k crowns, which will translate into about a 200 CE gain. Also, if you do not spend any CE or extra mist reviving during this, you should only spend about 80-90 Mist energy, leaving you 10 or 20 to craft a low level item for a UV if you are productive, or letting you delve back into the Clockworks even faster. Now, if we use that 200 CE we gained buying on the market to run the Royal Jelly path again, we will keep netting a 100 CE profit each time. Assuming you can do these runs in about an hour or so, two hours a day of gaming will get you around 300-400 CE a day, while four hours a day will net you an extra 200 CE added onto that. If you save up your energy you should be able to buy Tier 2 armor and entrance into Tier 2 clockworks within three days or less. Like the guide states many times, patience is what will lead you to becoming self sustaining.
1) Explore/Break everything in your levels in the clockworks
2) Do not revive more than once or twice a run
3) Do In-Level arenas and also Arena Gates, as well as aiming for Deconstruction Zones & Random Graveyards for more crowns/heat
4) Sell materials at a good price, there is more than one person in the world who will buy your matieral
5) Get to Tier 2 as fast as you can, even if its with items you will throw away later
6) After getting to Tier 2, sell materials as much as possible if you will not use them for your equipment
7) Patience, Only use a mist tank untill you get to tier 2; This might be painful but Spiral Knights is not going to shut down tomorrow!
8) Enjoy yourself while playing! I hear Spiral knights is actually a game meant to be enjoyed.
Thanks for reading!